2020 was a dumpster fire. I’m not negotiating on this. It tested me in ways that I didn’t want to be tested. My family suffered loss that still stings enough to make me cringe at the thought of mining the last calendar year for silver linings. The teaching profession that has seeped into every fiber of my being got turned upside down. Toilet paper became a prized possession.
It was not a great year.
But in the true money nerd fashion, I did spend a bit of time at the end of 2020 looking at our numbers. Thanks to a stock market that is completely severed from most people’s day-to-day realities, our financials look good. Really good, in fact.
But there’s one teeny number from 2020 that actually means more to me than anything else. (Spoiler: Using your parachute comes with a cost, and it’s worth every dang penny.)
I hit six figures in my Roth IRA during 2020. This is the magic of the market more than anything else, but it’s nice to see the payoff after years of consistently investing.
Especially considering the fact that up until five years ago, my Roth was collecting cobwebs in a bank CD!
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After finally getting a low cost investment option, I opened a 403b through my work. I upped my contributions another $50 per paycheck to start this most recent school year. Before that, I played a game where every time I felt really frustrated at work, I would email my business office to bump up my contribution another $10 or $25 per paycheck.
Thanks to that frustration and more investing bravado, my 403b is plumping up nicely. (If you must know, I’m currently adding $700 per month to start this new year.)
Hopefully, the 2021-2022 will be more certainty to our financial situations and education in general. Then, I really want to roll up my sleeves to see what I can do here.
This is our current mortgage balance. Long-time readers (if there are any of those left!) know that I hate our mortgage. I started blogging thinking that I was debt free.
Not so fast, Penny.
I actually had over $200,000 worth of debt to contend with as a 27 year old, thanks to our mortgage. I had just never phrased it that way: debt.
We’ve worked hard to pay it off, moving in stops and starts. While it’s fun to make double and triple payments when we can, it’s even more fun to think that all this process started with a few extra dollars.
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Our Christmas spending came in under budget this year thanks to having a Christmas like no other. A few grab bags that we normally participate in were cancelled, and I phoned it on cooking anything outside of our regular grocery budget.
And, um, maybe I’ll send Easter cards or something this year.
While I know this number may look high to some people, we do buy gifts for over a dozen people and we also include special holiday giving in our Christmas budget.
That’s why one of the first things I did when the calendar flipped to 2021 was to create a savings account specific to Christmas 2021. We want to spend in ways that matter to us (shop small!) on people we love without regret…or debt.
This number is actually the number I am most proud of in 2020.
That’s all the money my husband received on leave.
For three-plus months.
We were actually thrilled beyond measure that he earned anything at all.
During the time he was on leave under FFCRA, I actually stopped looking at our budget very closely. We knew that we were making a decision based on time and safety, not finances. Whether we could float each month with my income and his (very) partial pay or we would dip into savings, it wasn’t going to change our decision.
So we stuck to it. Building FU money is a lot more fun than spending FU money. But if it bought my family time and safety, it’s easily my favorite money number of 2020.
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So Tell Me…Did you uncover any proud-moment numbers when you thought about 2020? What numbers are you focusing on in 2021?